This one, I didn't read. I got it narrated to me by a friend, who found the ending twist rather amusing. Maybe it isn't even a comic. Fleischer cartoon? George Reeves TV series? Well, anyway. The criminal gets Superman distracted somehow while he flees, and Superman eventually finds him just as he crossed the state border, so he can't be arrested anymore. The criminal gloats, and since he's a skilled gunslinger type, he throws a coin into the air and shoots a hole into it. Superman then flies past the border and grabs the criminal.

– Hey, you can't arrest me! I'm past the border!
– Destroying money is a federal crime. You're under arrest.

It was told to me circa 1990, but it could have been as far back as the 1940s. Of course, since it is a retelling, the dialogue was probably not exactly that.

  • 1
    The Rider punched a guy over the State border – Valorum Aug 20 at 20:18
  • Is shooting a coin a federal crime in the US? – NomadMaker Aug 21 at 9:34
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    @NomadMaker Don't know if it's a reliable source but this says yes thoughtco.com/is-burning-money-illegal-3367953 – Mark Aug 21 at 10:30
  • @NomadMaker From that article: "Because the Federal Reserve has to replace any money taken out of circulation, and it costs anywhere from about 5.5 cents to make a $1 bill to about 14 cents for a $100 bill." Stronger anti-counterfeiting measures, I suppose. Otherwise the cost should be exactly the same. – JCCyC Aug 26 at 16:03
  • Destroying US coins is illegal only if done with fraudulent intent, like coin shaving or counterfeiting. Destroying US bills is illegal despite the intent, but the law primarily exists to combat counterfeiting, so if you're not counterfeiting (or running a scam like the half-20) you're unlikely to be prosecuted. In reality, destroying cash allows the government to print more cash, which will then be in their possession, so it works out to be a voluntary tax in the long run. The Rider, since he shot a coin but not for fraudulent purposes, is in the clear legally. – Cristobol Polychronopolis Sep 14 at 18:39

Superman #153 (1962).

SHERIFF: Consarn it! Since Finch has not committed a federal offense, I can't legally go after him! All I can do now is notify the proper authorities, but by that time he'll be gone! [...]

SUPERMAN (tosses coin): Finch! Look at this coin! See how it glitters! Keep your eyes on it!

FINCH (shoots coin): I'm wise to you! You're tryin to hypnotize me into giving myself up! There - now that coin won't stop me!

SUPERMAN (grabs villain): Wrong, Finch! The coin did get you after all! It's a federal offense to mutilate any U.S. coin!

Superman outwits a criminal

Found with the Google query dc superman arrests criminal at state border site:dc.fandom.com.

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  • 26
    Silver Age comics were strange, that is certain. – Adamant Aug 20 at 22:19
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    That last panel is also ... something. – xLeitix Aug 21 at 8:55
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    @Adamant how to make any comic into a 60s-style comic: 1/ end all narration boxes with "..." 2/ end all spoken-out sentences with exclamation marks. – Jenayah Aug 21 at 9:16
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    @Jenayah: Wow! You're right! I never even noticed that before you pointed it out... – V2Blast Aug 21 at 9:58
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    Questions that I have after reading this: 1) Does Superman know that it's only an offence to fraudulently mutilate a coin? 2) Does either Finch or Superman know that you can pursue a criminal over state lines? 3) Are there places where the state line is actually labeled by a stripe on the road and a little post? 4) Was Superman actually able to hypnotize him with the coin? 5) Does Superman think hypnotizing someone across state lines is more legal than arresting them? 6) Why did Finch choose to shoot the coin once he already was no longer looking at it? – Adamant Aug 21 at 10:21

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